Muslim Reformers vs Extremists
- On 7 December 2011, twenty radical Muslims hijacked an event featuring Muslim reformists, Irshad Manji and Tofik Dibi, in Amsterdam.
The extremists repeatedly declared “Takfir!”, thereby ordering the execution of Manji and Dibi. After threatening to break Manji’s neck, they demanded that the event, sponsored by the European Foundation for Democracy, be stopped.The speakers refused to leave the stage. Their discussion on the modernisation of Islam resumed after the police arrested a number of the extremists. Stated Manji, “I never felt afraid. Not once. Neither did Tofik. In fact, all of us refused to leave, even when police asked. We wouldn’t play on Jihadi terms. Some things are simply more important than fear.”
Emphasized Dutch MP, Tofik Dibi, “the disruption shows that even in the Netherlands it is necessary to continue the debate on reforming Islam.”
Roberta Bonazzi, Executive Director of the European Foundation for Democracy, added “the voice of democratic Islam will not be silenced by extremism. We are united and will continue to support inspirational Muslim reformers across Europe.” By bringing together two such reformers at the Amsterdam event, the European Foundation for Democracy is pursuing its mission of empowering liberal Muslims who advocate the values of open societies.
Irshad Manji is in Europe to promote her latest book, Allah, Liberty and Love. Manji, a practicing Muslim, is also the author of The Trouble With Islam Today. As part of her tour she is meeting fellow Muslim reformists, youth activists and parliamentarians in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The radicals are believed to be members of Sharia4Belgium, one of several Islamist groups seeking to enact Sharia law throughout Europe.
IRSHAD MANJI: Senior Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy, Irshad Manji also directs the Moral Courage Project at New York University (http://www.moralcourage.com/). In those countries that have banned her books, Prof. Manji is reaching readers by posting free-of-charge translations on her website, irshadmanji.com. To date, the Arabic, Urdu and Farsi translations have been downloaded more than 2 million times.
ALLAH, LIBERTY AND LOVE: Written by the dissenting yet faithful Muslim Irshad Manji, Allah, Liberty and Love advances a 21st-century reformation within Islam. As a Muslim who bridges East and West, Prof. Manji addresses people of all faiths – and none. What she teaches is “moral courage,” the willingness to speak up when everyone else wants to shut you up. Calling out both the fatwa-flingers and the mute moderates, Allah, Liberty and Love is the ultimate guide to becoming a gutsy global citizen.
EUROPEAN FOUNDATION FOR DEMOCRACY: Based in Brussels, EFD (http://www.europeandemocracy.org/) is a non-profit organisation which promotes universal human rights, individual liberty, freedom of conscience and pluralism of peaceful ideas. Its accomplishments include the support of Muslims in several European countries who advocate democratic values within their communities.